GRAND ISLE, LA (WVUE) - A tale of rescue, recovery and survival played out on Grand Isle Thursday evening.
A dolphin named Octavius that stranded late last year is once again free, and it has been a labor of love for doctors at the Audubon Nature Institute. They have been nurturing him for six months and released him back to the same waters off Grand Isle where he was found stranded in October.
"We monitored his temperature, put ice on him, try to make sure he didn't get stressed out," said Rescue Coordinator Gabriella Vazquez.
Under constant supervision, Octavius made the trip to his real home.
"This is our first we have dolphin we have released back into the wild," said Dr. Tres Clarke.
Octavius has done well, gaining nearly 40 pounds since October. His vital signs are good.
Handlers slowly walked Octavius into the waters off Grand Isle. He seemed spunky, but at first didn't seem to want to stray very far from shore. He was monitored closely as he slowly swam free, and a team of researchers will watch over him for many months to come.
"We are going to monitor him," Clarke said. "He has a satellite tag that will help us locate him."
The release was bittersweet, but Octavius' handlers say this is what's best for him. Doctors have given the young dolphin their best effort and are confident he will thrive in the waters off the island.